CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-European shares end higher boosted by banks and auto stocks
(Corrects country of index in paragraph 3 to say Italy's MIB, not Spain's MIB)
By Susan Mathew
April 12 (Reuters) - European shares finished higher for a third straight day on Friday, with investor sentiment getting a boost from JP Morgan setting a strong start to U.S. earnings and amid signs of stabilization in China's economy.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX closed up 0.16 percent, but ended the week lower after two weeks of gains. Banks and the auto sector were the biggest boosts to the benchmark on the day.
Italy's MIB .FTMIB led gains in the region with its 0.8 percent rise, having hit an eight-month high earlier the session, while German shares .GDAXI closed up 0.5 percent.
Data showed that China's exports rebounded to a five-month high in March, but imports shrank for a fourth straight month and at a faster pace, painting a mixed picture of the economy. MKTS/GLOB
"The markets seems to have shaken off the negative aspects of the Chinese trade data, but it's a minor rise at the end of a fairly limp week," said Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex.
Banks got a boost after shares of the largest U.S. bank by assets JPM.N rose after the company beat quarterly profit estimates, easing fears that slowing economic growth could weigh on its results. lenders, such as StanChart STAN.L , Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE , BNP Paribas BNPP.PA and Credit Suisse CSGN.S rallied, taking the European bank index .SX7P up 1.9 percent to a five-month high.
HSBC HSBA.L was among the biggest driver of gains on the pan-region benchmark. The firm said it so far moved only a "tiny" number of jobs to Paris in order to deal with Brexit. biggest bank, UniCredit CRDI.MI rose more than 4 percent even after it said is one of the banks accused of running a cartel in trading euro zone government bonds between 2007 and 2012, when financial crises dragged down banks and several European economies. auto sector .SXAP followed suit with car-makers such BMW BMWG.DE , Daimler DAIGn.DE and Fiat Chrysler FCHA.MI gaining more than 2.2 percent each.
Amid warnings that proposed U.S. automotive tariffs could do more damage to global growth than the ongoing U.S.-China trade dispute, BAML analysts point to a lack of action out of the U.S. on threatened auto tariffs. our view, the reluctance to move forward is because actually imposing auto tariffs would be both deeply unpopular and a major shock to the equity markets."
Basic resources .SXPP stocks also gained with iron ore and copper prices on the rise. Rio Tinto RIO.L and Glencore GLEN.L were among top boosts to Britain's blue-chip index higher.
Airbus AIR.PA gained as its new chief executive, Guillaume Faury, imposed a simplified management structure and a manifesto for factory modernisation. Store Nord GN.CO rose 7.8 percent after the Danish audio-maker raised financial guidance. Medical technology supplier Carl Zeiss AFXG.DE climbed 6.6 percent on strong full-year guidance.
Swiss train and carriage manufacturer Stadler Rail SRAIL.S jumped 13.4 percent after its debut on the SIX Swiss Exchange. the other hand, London-based online trading platform Plus500 PLUSP.L tumbled 31.2 percent as revenue for the first quarter dropped to around a fifth of last year's, hurt by a fall in trading volumes.
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